The first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Beach Road was almost a washout as the rain fell on the morning and early afternoon of Thursday the 17th March.
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and the anniversary of his death is celebrated by the people of the Emerald Isle, and by those people of Irish ancestry throughout the world.
It was several months ago that Derrick Kane, owner of the Freedrop Bar on Pratamnak Soi 4, and Freedrop regular David Hamilton arrived at the Father Ray Foundation with an idea that would eventually become the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade along Beach Road, and the first large scale parade to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Thailand.
Excited participants in the St Patty’s Day festivities cheer on the passing parade.
Sponsors of the parade were Tara Group Condominiums and Mulligans bar – ‘Never Going Home’.
Many local bars had registered to enter a decorated float, but as the arranged meeting time passed not a single float had arrived at the starting point on the car park of Alcazar theatre.
But then the clouds parted, the sun shone through, and within minutes a convoy of motorbikes, pick-up trucks and wagons arrived, all decorated with the national flag of Ireland and almost everyone wearing the traditional St. Patrick’s Day color of green.
Marching bands from several local schools also arrived and the noise was deafening as they all tuned their instruments ready for the march to start.
Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome was unable to attend the opening ceremony, so Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, himself dressed in the traditional green, officially welcomed the participants and gave the signal to declare the start of the parade.
Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh officially starts the parade.
From Beach Road Soi 4 the hundreds of participants walked, sang and danced their way towards Soi 12 where they turned left and then left again onto Second Road. From there it was a straight walk down to the finishing point at Alcazar theatre. Decorated floats came from several bars around town, including the Freedrop Bar, Mulligans, Murphy’s Law, the Irish Wolfhound, Sapphire Club and the Morning Star.
Youngsters from the Fountain of Life, as well as children and students with disabilities from the Father Ray Foundation, also joined in the parade, most of them bemused by the sight of so many people wearing green clothes, large hats and singing at the top of their voices.
The Fountain of Life and the Father Ray Foundation are the chosen local charities who will benefit from the proceeds of this event, and the money will help to improve the lives of the many children under the care of these two organizations.
This year’s parade will hopefully become an annual event, and Pattaya will join the cities of Dublin, New York, Chicago, Sydney, Boston and London as a destination where people of all nationalities, not just the Irish community, can come together for a day of traditional fun and merriment.
Barry Upton and Derrick Kane give a rousing rendition of ‘Danny Boy’.
Derrick Kane, owner of the Freedrop Bar, gives advice to St. Patrick.
Ay, it be time for a pint or two.
A leprechaun was spotted in the parade.
Sister Joan from the Fountain of Life also joined the parade.
One of the many local marching bands that joined the parade.
The big bikes lead the way.
Marching bands from nine local schools were represented.
The Father Ray Foundation had one of the biggest floats.